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much darkness in her life....
I'm told this is about her horse, do we need to know a poets biography before wecan recognise what on earth they are on about? I found it too obtuse.
The key to plath's poem is The Tempest.... her personal setting is the loss of her father.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
from The Tempest
Come unto these yellow sands,
And then take hands:
Curtsied when you have, and kiss'd
The wild waves whist,
Foot it featly here and there;
And, sweet sprites, the burthen bear.
The watch-dogs bark.
Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticleer
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them—Ding-dong, bell.
I find this poem particularily entralling. The ambiguity to the title 'Ariel' is extremely interesting- is it the name of her horse and therefore symbolic of freedom and feminine power and escape? Or in reference to the caged Shakesperian spirit? Both completely opposing views, however Shakespeare's Ariel is finally released to live its own life without the chains its master Prospero had imposed. Is Plath refering to her final release from under male rule of her husband or perhaps life in general?
My girlfriend is the best poet ever.
Ariel was the imprisoned spirit in Shakespeare's play, The Tempest. Condemned to serve an unbending and demanding master (her husband?) , he (it) could only be released once the latter's life's work was complete. Clearly this was a key image for Plath, who throughout her life experienced feelings of imprisonment, suffocation and the inability to release herself from the everyday demands of life.
The poem begins with the illusion of release, 'the substancelss blue/ pour of of tor and distances' (a tor is a hill) , but immediately the focus is jerked inward to the body of her partner, lying beside her, 'pivots of heels and knees'. Despite the closeness of the body she feels that there is something about it that she cannot grasp, 'The brown arc of the neck that I cannot catch'. Intimacy rapidly turns to something ugly and unpleasant 'Nigger-eye/ Berries cast dark/ Hooks.' Despite this she cannot prevent herself gaining pleasure from the experience, 'White Godiva/ I unpeel', 'I foam to wheat' and this experience returns her briefly to the illusion of freedom felt at the begnning of the poem, ' a glitter of seas'. She can even briefly forget the cry of her child which 'Melts in the wall'. But ultimately the experience can only be destructive and she becomes 'the dew that flies/ Suicidal at one with the desire/ Into the red/ Eye, the cauldron of the morning.'
Plath's poetry is deceptively simple. It uses simple language and simple, even primitive, forms but fragments them into unusual and sometimes painful combinations often using surprising and occasionally brutal imagery. It has a gut honesty that demands respect, however, and she is perhaps the best of the late 20th century poets.
It is difficult to forget what I have read about Sylvia Plaths suicide when I read this poem. Her head stuck in the gas oven, the cry of her two children trough the wall.
This was written some time before, a year?
It seems as if she's almost having a nightmare of sorts. I think it's very foreboding...
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
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12/2/2022 9:00:29 PM # 18.104.22.1689